A ground-breaking new therapy that harnesses the body’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells is set to change the future of how we treat the disease.
Researchers from the Centre for Cancer Biology have announced phase 1 of a clinical trial that tests how genetically modified white blood cells – known as CAR-T cells -interact with solid tumours (e.g. small cell lung cancer, sarcomas and triple-negative breast cancer).
“Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are a promising new technology in the field of cancer immunotherapy,” lead researcher Dr Tessa Gargett of UniSA explains.
“Essentially, CAR-T cells are super-powered immune cells which work by enlisting and strengthening the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumours.”
“They’ve had astounding results in treating some forms of chemotherapy-resistant blood cancers, but similar breakthroughs are yet to be achieved for solid cancers – that’s where this study comes in.”
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size added that the trial – which is funded by their Beat Cancer Project and sponsored by CALHN – is a promising step towards winning the fight against cancer. A factor that’s especially pressing since an estimated 145,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in Australia this year alone.
“Cancer Council SA is committed to funding and conducting research in all aspects of cancer,” Size said.
“Through Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project and generous donations from the community over the past eight years, we’ve been able to contribute over $15 million towards ground-breaking research initiatives.
“Advances in medical research allow us to treat more cancers successfully, with clinical trials providing the vital clues that bring us closer to a cancer-free future.”
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